Who's Who - Sir George Milne

Sir George Milne Sir George Milne (1866-1948) served on the Western and Salonika Fronts during World War One, and acted as Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1926.

Milne's military career began with graduation from the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1885; twelve years later he further passed out of the Staff College at Camberley.

Serving with artillery at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 he was subsequently a brevet Lieutenant-Colonel with Lord Kitchener's intelligence staff during the Second Boer War of 1899-1902.

Prior to the outbreak of general war in August 1914 Milne found himself in command of 4th Division, with which he served during the early Battles of Le Cateau, 1st Marne and at the Aisne.

Promoted in the wake of these successes in halting the German advance on Paris, Milne was promoted Brigadier-General in October 1914 and then to Major-General while attached to Second Army in 1915.

However his career encountered something of a setback with his posting to Salonika in command of 27th Division, there to work with the fractious French regional Commander-in-Chief Maurice Sarrail.

From January 1916 Milne was placed in command of all British forces serving in Salonika; but his scope for command was severely limited by the determination of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir William Robertson, to prevent offensive operations in Salonika - in his opinion a pointless theatre for operations.

With the wildly unpopular Sarrail replaced in due course by the notably more competent if equally difficult Franchet d'Esperey, and his own forces decimated by illness (chiefly malarial), Milne was finally permitted to launch an offensive in April 1917 near Lake Dorian.  Little short of a disaster Milne's force suffered heavy losses without notable gain.

Prevented from launching further offensives until 1918 Allied forces in Salonika eventually experienced dramatic success with the Vardar Offensive with the result that Bulgaria was forced out of the war.

Following the armistice Milne's force occupied Constantinople, remaining in Turkey until 1920 until his promotion to General rank.

Given responsibility for the Eastern Command in 1922 his military career reached its peak with his appointment as Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1926.

Finally retiring in 1933 with the rank of Field Marshal and ennobled as Baron Milne of Salonika and Rubislaw, he later served in the Home Guard during the Second World War.

He died in 1948.

Click here, here and here to read Milne's statements regarding the successful Allied Vardar Offensive.

Observation balloons were referred to as 'sausages'.

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